Phil Jones and the Chinese weather station corruption

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WUWT readers may recall the bizarre saga of Douglas Keenan’s attempt to bring the research data of CRU’s Dr. Phil Jones and SUNY’s Dr. Wei Chyung Wang to sunlight, which I’ve covered here and here. At issue, is the metadata (or lack thereof) of Chinese weather stations used in a 1990 study by Jones and Wang which concluded that UHI didn’t exist in China. Keenan made complaints of academic misconduct to Wang’s university based on the fact that Wang couldn’t or wouldn’t produce the Chinese station metadata to back up his claims.

The metadata location history of where the weather stations were sited was crucial to Jones and Wang’s 1990 paper. It concluded the rising temperatures recorded in China were the result of “global warming” rather than the UHI effects of China’s rapidly growing  cities and industrialization.

The IPCC used the Jones and Wang study in the 2007 TAR to justify the claim that “any urban-related trend” in global temperatures was small. Notably, Dr. Phil Jones was one of two “coordinating lead authors” for the relevant chapter.

From Warwick Hughes:

The IPCC drew that conclusion from the Jones et al 1990 Letter to Nature which examined temperature data from regions in Eastern Australia, Western USSR and Eastern China, to conclude that “In none of the three regions studied is there any indication of significant urban influence..” That has led to the IPCC claim that for decades, urban warming is less than 0.05 per century.

Really? UHI is easily observable. I’ve been telling readers about UHI since this blog started. One notable example that I demonstrated by actual measurement is Reno, NV:


Click for larger image

Even in my small town of Chico, CA the effect is measurable:

Oddly, Jones recently wrote what may now be viewed as a CYA paper, seeking to distance himself from Wang’s data. I reported in March 2009 that:

A paper in JGR that slipped by last fall without much notice (but know now thanks to Warwick Hughes) is one from Phil Jones, the director of the Hadley Climate Center in the UK. The pager is titled:  Urbanization effects in large-scale temperature records, with an emphasis on China

In it, Jones identifies an urban warming signal in China of 0.1 degrees C per decade.  Or, if you prefer, 1 degree C per century. Not negligible by any means.

Now, Steve McIntyre of Climate audit has put the entire tale of Jones, Wang, and Keenan together in one encompassing history. True to form, Steve finds and documents many minor but important details in this two decade long saga which many journo’s have missed.

In Brit parlance, it’s “gobsmacking”.

Steve outlines the Chinese Weather station issue in three parts. It is well worth the read because to really understand the depths of the pea and thimble management that went on over the years, you really need a complete history. Call it metadata.

Part 1
Part 2

Part 3 has this Climategate email from Wigley worth noting:

Phil,

Do you know where this stands? The key things from the Peiser items are …

“Wang had been claiming the existence of such exonerating documents for nearly a year, but he has not been able to produce them. Additionally, there was a report published in 1991 (with a second version in 1997) explicitly stating that no such documents exist. Moreover, the report was published as part of the Department of Energy Carbon Dioxide Research Program, and Wang was the Chief Scientist of that program.”

and

“Wang had a co-worker in Britain. In Britain, the Freedom of Information Act requires that data from publicly-funded research be made available. I was able to get the data by requiring Wang�s co-worker to release it, under British law. It was only then that I was able to confirm that Wang had committed fraud.”

You are the co-worker, so you must have done something like provide Keenan with the DOE report that shows that there are no station records for 49 of the 84 stations. I presume Keenan therefore thinks that it was not possible to select stations on the basis of …

“… station histories: selected stations have relatively few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location, or observation times”
[THIS IS ITEM “X”]

Of course, if the only stations used were ones from the 35 stations that *did* have station histories, then all could be OK. However, if some of the stations used were from the remaining 49, then the above selection method could not have been applied (but see below) – unless there are other “hard copy” station history data not in the DOE report (but in China) that were used. From what Wang has said, if what he says is true, the second possibility appears to be the case.

What is the answer here?

The next puzzle is why Wei-Chyung didn’t make the hard copy information available. Either it does not exist, or he thought it was too much trouble to access and copy. My guess is that it does not exist — if it did then why was it not in the DOE report? In support of this, it seems that there are other papers from 1991 and 1997 that show that the data do not exist. What are these papers? Do they really show this?

Now my views. (1) I have always thought W-C W was a rather sloppy scientist. I therefore would not be surprised if he screwed up here. But ITEM X is in both the W-C W and Jones et al. papers — so where does it come from first? Were you taking W-C W on trust?

(2) It also seems to me that the University at Albany has screwed up. To accept a complaint from Keenan and not refer directly to the complaint and the complainant in its report really is asking for trouble.

(3) At the very start it seems this could have been easily dispatched. ITEM X really should have been …

“Where possible, stations were chosen on the basis of station histories and/or local knowledge: selected stations have relatively few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location, or observation times”

Of course the real get out is the final “or”. A station could be selected if either it had relatively few “changes in instrumentation” OR “changes in location” OR “changes in observation times”. Not all three, simply any one of the three. One could argue about the science here — it would be better to have all three — but this is not what the statement says.

Why, why, why did you and W-C W not simply say this right at the start? Perhaps it’s not too late?

—–

I realise that Keenan is just a trouble maker and out to waste time, so I apologize for continuing to waste your time on this, Phil. However, I *am* concerned because all this happened under my watch as Director of CRU and, although this is unlikely, the buck eventually should stop with me.

Best wishes,
Tom

P.S. I am copying this to Ben. Seeing other peoples’ troubles might make him happier about his own parallel experiences.

I’ve been telling readers about UHI since this blog started. One notable example that I demonstrated by actual measurement is Reno, NV:
Click for larger image 

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66 thoughts on “Phil Jones and the Chinese weather station corruption

  1. I also find it very difficult to credit such a low rate of UHI effect on the temperature trend, but please be precise that the claim is (or was) that UHI had minimal effect on the temperature *trends*, not on the temperatures themselves. It’s conceivable (at least in theory) to have a site within a UHI which has elevated temperatures, but the temperatures at that site change at the same rate as an uncontaminated site (say, outside the city and upwind of it).

    Also, can you please discuss this from the abstract of Jones et al. (JGR 2008):

    Global surface temperature trends, based on land and marine data, show warming of about 0.8°C over the last 100 years. … We show that all the land-based data sets for China agree exceptionally well and that their residual warming compared to the SST series since 1951 is relatively small compared to the large-scale warming. Urban-related warming over China is shown to be about 0.1°C decade−1 over the period 1951–2004, with true climatic warming accounting for 0.81°C over this period.

    0.1°C decade−1 over 50+ years comes to about 0.5°C, which hardly seems relatively small. If I read the 0.81°C figure as the non-UHI portion, then UHI represents about 40% of the reported land-based temperature rate, in China at least. Reducing the land-based rate by this amount may bring that record into accord with the satellite-based records.

  2. Some stand out quotes from Tom Wigley’s e-mai;: “It was only then that I was able to confirm that Wang had committed fraud.” So it is labeled by Wigley as “fraud”, and then Keenan, who is simply trying to verify the science, is spoken of as a “troublemaker…”I realise that Keenan is just a trouble maker and out to waste time, so I apologize for continuing to waste your time on this, Phil.” …and so in climate science “someone trying to replicate a study is a “troublemaker”, someone committing “fraud is” sloppy” and when later the true UHI is shown to be 1C per century verses the .o5C per century the troblemakers are just ignored. They wonder why the public does not worship the doom and gloom they conclude.

  3. So the warming has been about 1C, the UHI effect is 1C. Yet we can discern global warming. reminds me of my Physics teacher, a long long time ago, who gave 0+, 0 and 0- as scores in tests, and expected us poor souls at the receiving end to understand the distinction

  4. I was late to following the climate story and have only been reading and studying it for 3 years. The one factor that immediately made me a strong critic was this denial of data and methods by the hockey team. While on the government dole, these guys were screaming, the sky is falling one moment and then denying the source data the next. It is impossible to reconcile these two behaviors by any legitimate scientist. Either there is a real problem and they would want the work double checked or they are frauds. Its hard to describe my dismay at the media shills for letting the hockey team get away with hiding publicly paid for data.

    I know Mr. McIntyre likes to stick to facts and not motivation but there is no other word for it than fraud. Duck, walks, swim, quacks, and all that. An honest scientist would understand why someone would want to double check work and want verification and validation. A fraud gets all indignant and attacks the one who asks questions. How has the hockey team behaved? Accuse them of fraud and that accusation has been verified and validated.

  5. Typical of British academics and civil servants in general – they have no concept of other ‘less principled’ nations playing fast and loose with the truth in front of their noses. They seem to think that everyone around the world plays cricket.**

    Witness the £millions in aid that is given to petty dictators worldwide, on the naive assumption that the money will go to the poor and needy.

    ** A euphemism for being honest.

  6. Well here we have yet more proof of the climate science truism – there are lies, damn lies and climate statistics.

    No surprise that fewer and fewer members of the public believe anything the IPCC climate cabal say. Time to get rid of the lot of them and their already falsified CAGW premise!

  7. RE: HaroldW says:
    November 7, 2010 at 9:12 am

    **It’s conceivable (at least in theory) to have a site within a UHI which has elevated temperatures, but the temperatures at that site change at the same rate as an uncontaminated site (say, outside the city and upwind of it).**

    But what if a true rural site had not changed significantly or gone down??

  8. When McIntyre began writing about the Jones/Wang paper a few years ago, the thing that most surprised me was that even though he was the lead author, Jones apparently did not possess and presumably had never seen the data in question.

    Since the station histories are critical to his conclusions that the UHI effect is negligible, and his contention that measured increases can only be attributable to human released greenhouse gasses, I would have thought that he would have had great interest in all aspects of the station selection and histories. Instead Jones allowed this critical work to be outsourced to an unnamed third party.

    Now attention is brought to this statement from the Nature letter:

    “Where possible, stations were chosen on the basis of station histories and/or local knowledge: selected stations have relatively few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location, or observation times;”

    I am surprised that such a vague and subjective description was allowed by the Nature editors, by the reviewers, and actually by Jones himself if that is all he knew about the data.

    As Wigley’s email points out, this gave the authors almost unlimited wiggle room, the phrase “where possible” negates the suggested rigor of the rest of the sentence, so the whole study should have been considered as a scientific nullity when submitted.

  9. In this case it appears that the Brits knew full well that the paper contained highly dubious ‘data’ (see Wigley’s comments). Blind eyes seemed to have been turned, and continue to be turned, because this was, as usual, a mistake in the desired direction.

  10. >>HaroldW says:November 7, 2010 at 9:12 am
    >>please be precise that the claim is (or was) that UHI had minimal
    >>effect on the temperature *trends*, not on the temperatures themselves.

    The argument is, that with growing industrialisation and urbanisation in China, the temperature ‘trend’ across the nation has to be upwards.

    You can bet that many of the monitoring stations were in small towns and cities which have now become large cities and even larger mega-cities, surrounded by a sprawl of energy intensive factories, and you can bet that this has increased the temperature trends recorded by those monitoring stations. To claim that none of this warming is due to the ever expanding UHI effect, is utterly mendacious.

  11. This reminds me of an old joke about accountants, ( no offence meant)

    A man is looking for an accountant and asks one question:
    What is 2+2, they all give the same answer 4, except for one which the man choses.
    That accountant asks, What kind of figure are you thinking of?

  12. When I first moved to Las Vegas, we had a population of approximately 350,000. Today the population is 1.9 million. All this growth in less than 30 years of the instrument record. Instruments that were once outside the city and unaffected by UHI are now surrounded by pavement, buildings, and the reflective glass of buildings (providing direct sun heat load on the screen and additional load by reflected sunlight). I’m sure these instruments have seen a significant increase in temperature trend within recent years which is directly attributable to increasing UHI effect.

    I’ve read rationalizations that a screen that suffers from UHI effect is still going to see the same “rate” of temperature trend change as one that doesn’t. But in the case of many long established screens in the Las Vegas area, that can’t be true. How does one reconcile that significant increases in temperature trends due to UHI effect emergence has no effect on averaged temperature trends? I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t. And why, when these instruments are adjusted for urbanization, they’re adjusted upwards (to produce greater trend) rather than downwards and then downwards prior to the emergence of UHI effect? The adjustments seem counterintuitive.

  13. david says: November 7, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Some stand out quotes from Tom Wigley’s e-mai;: “It was only then that I was able to confirm that Wang had committed fraud.” So it is labeled by Wigley as “fraud”, and then Keenan, who is simply trying to verify the science, is spoken of as a “troublemaker…”

    David, Wigley was quoting Keenan’s words in Peiser’s article here, AFAICT. Certainly, Keenan IS accusing Wang of outright fraud.

  14. Ralph (November 7, 2010 at 10:13 am)
    I agree with you that the general growth in the area is such that it seems plausible that there’s a significant UHI component in the land temperature record. A station does not actually have to be urban to experience a UHI effect (despite the name). And it seems that Jones et al 2008 has quantified a considerable effect due to urbanization, correcting the 1990 paper.

    All that I was complaining about, is that the original (1990) paper did not dispute the existence of UHI, as seems to be implied in the post’s graphs showing the very considerable amount of UHI. The original paper claimed that — even though UHI affects certain stations’ temperatures — UHI did not result in a significant change in the temperature *trend*; urban and rural stations warmed at about the same rate. Imprecisions like this are seized upon by people who wish to ignore this issue, so it’s important to be accurate. There is much to criticize in Jones et al. 1990, but mischaracterizing its argument does not advance the criticism.

  15. I noticed the smoker next to the BBQ in the cartoon….looks a lot like an old Stevenson screen….

    Maybe that’s why the temps are so high in the urban areas….they’re usin’ ‘em as smokers and leaving the thermometers inside!

    Btw, I’m in Reno, up in the northwest, and I have a digital weather station out in the backyard, and situated fairly reasonably…in the light of things… I note that the official temps during the day are fairly close if a bit higher, but official NIGHTIME temps are MUCH higher!

  16. Gerald Machnee says:
    November 7, 2010 at 10:05 am

    The bottom line is that the UHI warming that is seen in cities has an upper limit, and so too does the trend that Warmists so fondly cite as proof of global warming.
    All that it takes to disrupt UHI station selection bias is movement of Jet Streams caused by the change in Solar Activity.
    Oops, there goes the warming trend tea leaves.
    They know this, and that’s why the goalpost is moved to climate disruption…the warming is Gone with the Wind.

  17. I really appreciate the care McIntyre uses to lay out the case. It has allowed me to better understand Keenan’s approach.

    Further, since the station history is central to the assertion of negligible UHI effect it is not at all unreasonable to be expected to document the data. Even Tom Wigley recognizes that – and while he really knows the answer (just didn’t write it) – calls Jones on it.

    The context provided by McIntyre and WUWT really helps explain a) the basis for the deception and b) why this heavily referenced paper should be retracted

  18. I think this issue makes a great reflection point, that when people say that the IPCC represents the best available science on climate change, it pays to think about what that actually means. Remember that Jones’ original conclusions are referenced in AR4, not those of his new study. Going from .05 degree urban warming per century (AR4), to 1 degree urban warming per century, is a massive adjustment to consensus knowledge (I’m assuming that Jones’ latest work will be in AR5). That it’s taken 20 years for climate scientists to recognise UHI effects doesn’t reflect well on climate science at all, imo. And Steve has shown here the kinds of stories and excuses that Jones and others are willing to construct in order to skirt around these issues… by calling their critics ‘lazy’, ‘incompetent’, with ‘nothing better to do’, etc. If this is representative of the best available science, then it’s not worth very much in my opinion. I’m sure much better science is indeed possible.

  19. Hank,

    I absolutely agree with you. The argument I have heard put forward is that there is an initial increase in trend that then equilibrates and drops off to the same as the non-UHI trend (else how do we get elevated temps). As all good propaganda there is some truth in it. According to an interesting study Dr. Spencer did on comparisons of urban/rural/and city size, the largest UHI’s are in very small areas modernizing and growing while a large established city would have a small UHI

    This excuse ignores the physics of increasing amounts of material that absorbs and emits. It also ignores the problem of waste heat released in the environment. Unless there is no increase in energy usage their excuse is impossible. Some areas of some cities will have decreasing energy intensity. Trying to claim all cities have reached their equilibrium with no increases in waste heat, wind reduction, increased absorption etc, is delusional or lying.

    As you point out, adjusting a cities’ temps upwards is claiming that the temperature measurement is somehow being artificially biased lower. Since I have seen no paper referenced on why this would be we are again in the realm of delusion and fraud.

  20. Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions.[2] Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.
    Experience can clash with expectations, as, for example, with buyer’s remorse following the purchase of a new car. In a state of dissonance, people may feel surprise,[2] dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. People are biased to think of their choices as correct, despite any contrary evidence. This bias gives dissonance theory its predictive power, shedding light on otherwise puzzling irrational and destructive behavior. Cognitive dissonance>/a>

    They so wanted the past warming to be due to aCO2 emissions and not something like natural cycles or UHI that they would take any risk to except any squirely data as long as it supported their preconceived notions, even if it bordered on outright fraud. Now with their eggs all in one basket, they are standing on the precipice, staring at a perfect storm of conditions to drive down global temperatures, their Machiavellian manuvureings are being should to be sophomoric and the narcissistic high-priests of climatology looks like a “three stooges” movie

  21. The failure to deal with UHI properly is one of the most shameful aspects of current Climate Science. Its presence means that recent temperatures don’t correlate with the Sun therefore the Sun isn’t the cause of recent temperature rise. Its presence poisons everything.

    Here’s one of the best UHI pieces I’ve seen, a Russian scientist at Heartland conference part 1 shows with good statistics the UHI increases for different populations. UHI begins at a pretty low population level.

    Then there’s Ross McKitrick’s study.

    Then, so many other bits of evidence. Like this seasonal temperature record from Salehard, Yamal, Russia.

  22. David, the “and/or local knowledge” phrase does not appear in Jones’ 1990 Letter to Nature. In his email to Jones, Tom Wigley suggested they should have included that phrase as a caveat.

    Presumably, had they done so, they’d have had a convenient escape to explain any missing station metadata. With Tom Wigley, they’d be able to evade questions about stations with missing histories by ascribing their choice of those stations to “local knowledge” that they were good stations. That knowledge, of course, would have been lost when the original source died or moved away; conveniently unrecoverable.

    There’s no evidence in Tom Wigley’s email, or in Jones 1990, or in Jones’ posted email, that Jones and Wang relied on “local knowledge” to support any of their station choices. So, Tom Wigley was apparently suggesting that they should have built in the space for a convincing lie, in anticipation of later challenge.

  23. If our pal Phil ever got put in a real game of “You bet your life” he would sing a really different tune if he ever realized what the stakes were. This is just a shell game to these guys and they will do or say anything to prevent loss of face and thus income.

  24. “Hank Hancock says:
    November 7, 2010 at 10:50 am

    When I first moved to Las Vegas, we had a population of approximately 350,000. Today the population is 1.9 million. All this growth in less than 30 years of the instrument record. Instruments that were once outside the city and unaffected by UHI”

    Now that is one serious hockey stick of population growth. The population in Vegas multiplied by 5.4 in 30 years.

  25. Ray G, that is the nub of the matter isn’t it? Without reliable data there is no provable basis for AGW regardless of how pretty the computer models might be.

  26. HaroldW>/b> says:
    November 7, 2010 at 9:12 am

    I also find it very difficult to credit such a low rate of UHI effect on the temperature trend, but please be precise that the claim is (or was) that UHI had minimal effect on the temperature *trends*, not on the temperatures themselves. It’s conceivable (at least in theory) to have a site within a UHI which has elevated temperatures, but the temperatures at that site change at the same rate as an uncontaminated site (say, outside the city and upwind of it).

    World population has increased almost fourfold during the 20th century. It is very easy to measure effect of local population density on UHI here & now (with no reference to history at all). It is somewhere around 0.27°C/doubling, lending a logarithmic dependence down to very low densities (well below 1 per km^2).

    Population distribution is fairly fractal-like, that is the land area occupied by the vast majority of world population is very small compared to the entire land area (149 million km^2). At the same time location of a surface station is not selected randomly relative to this fractal, but there is always some nearby human habitation or workplace (otherwise maintenance costs would be too high).

    We can also safely assume UHI is fairly ergodic.

    From these premisses it follows with a force of logical necessity, that

    1. We should differentiate between effect of UHI on true average surface temperature trend and temperature trend computed from surface station data. The former may be negligible (but it is not measured per def) while the latter is considerable.
    2. It does not make sense to calculate UHI effect on trends based on rural/urban comparison. The correct procedure, if any, is comparing local temperature trends to local log population density trends.
    3. An order-of-magnitude estimate of UHI effect on 20th century average surface temperature trend (as measured by surface stations) is +0.5°C/century.

    Therefore about two third of 20th century warming as it is measured by surface stations is due to UHI (via increasing global population), while the rest may well be unforced natural fluctuation with some solar forcing and black carbon (soot) albedo effect on snowy surfaces. It simply does not leave room for a measurable greenhouse warming.

    It’s also worth mentioning local population density is only a proxy to UHI, as economic development and land use change going with it (the true factors behind UHI) can continue even after population explosion has stopped. If UHI trend correction is to be calculated relative to local population density trends, we should count on at least a several decades long hysteresis loop (as man made structures don’t go away immediately whenever population density drops).

  27. It is always important to remember the social context within which data are collected. In the Soviet Union under Stalin, allocations of fuel apparently followed ‘need’ so there was a strong ‘value slope’ (a nice term from Iain Boale) towards colder readings in winter (as the late John Daley described it).

    Let me tell you an anecdote from an academic colleague in Beijing in the 1990s. Upon preparing to leave for the day, his party were warned by reception to take bottled water with them. They replied that they had checked the forecast on TV and it was only for 35°C – they were Australians, and could easily handle this. It was explained that it was in fact going to be in the high 30s, but officially it would not exceed 35, because the law required that workers outside should stop work in temperatures above 35°C, which (officially) it rarely did. Can we have faith in official temperature records under these circumstances?

  28. Witness the £millions in aid that is given to petty dictators worldwide, on the naive assumption that the money will go to the poor and needy.

    Err no. It’s given to them on the understanding that they spend a good proportion of it buying British goods and services. We wouldn’t bother otherwise, would we?

  29. Anthony,

    Thanks for another of Steve McIntyre’s who-dun-its. Always a pleasure to read them.

    I think the behavior of ‘the Team’ is so contorted it could never make good mystery fiction . . . . people would think it is too weird.

    John

  30. HaroldW says:
    November 7, 2010 at 11:13 am
    “I agree with you that the general growth in the area is such that it seems plausible that there’s a significant UHI component in the land temperature record…
    All that I was complaining about…. … but mischaracterizing its argument does not advance the criticism.”

    The discussion has got NOTHING to do with the significance of the UHI effect! Have you actually read anything that Anthony refers to here? Forget about whether there is or isn’t UHI and it’s significance, and focus on the fact that Jones and Wang referred to data that was either fabricated or cherry picked, and for 17 years they have tried every possible devious and underhand method possible to hide their dishonesty and/or incompetence.

    It is indefensible-they have been caught.

  31. Juraj V, RayG – that’s exactly the point.

    These guys are amateurs.

    There are two ways to get reliable data – that is, numbers whose tolerances and deviatiosn are narrow enough to make the kinds of assessments that these guys are working toward.

    The first is that you engineer for it from the beginning. You build the equipment to measure temperature, you design the siting, and you constantly monitor, document, and contemporaneously feed back into the process appropriate adjustments to handle any environmental changes that occur.

    The second is that you have such a large body of data that you can perform statistical comparisons to determine data quality and externalities by inference.

    In the climate science field we have almost none of the first case and very little of the second, yet the Phil Joneses and Michael Manns march blithely onward.

    These guys have never worked in a field where, say, an incorrect tolerance on a dimension on a drawing results in a part stressed in the wrong spot that breaks at the wrong time and scatters bodies across the landscape.

    They’re working with numbers that tell them they’re dealing with something round and bright in color and grows on a tree, they want to believe it’s an orange so they’ll work to ensure that any evidence of yellow apples is suppressed.

  32. I wonder if the climate change folks are the same ones working at the election stations that suddenly find missing votes favoring their candidate when their candidate is losing the election. And just enough to win.

    Somehow it all seems to be the same.

  33. If the wider world could be made to see what went on here…
    But it cannot be reduced to a single headline. How to make other people aware of what has gone on?
    The trail is so convoluted it does not lend itself to an easy verifiable soundbite. What to do?
    I just bore all my friends, but they are finally getting the message.

  34. Juraj V. says:
    November 7, 2010 at 11:01 am (Edit)
    So.. what is the global record with high-quality stations only? Has anyone tried to do so?

    yes. It’s hard.

  35. After reading the incredible 3 part story I can only shake my head. Whatever happened to science ? Jones, Wang et al behave like kindergarten kids.

  36. Jimmy says:
    November 7, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Now that is one serious hockey stick of population growth. The population in Vegas multiplied by 5.4 in 30 years.

    It seems incredible but Las Vegas was one of the fastest growing cities in the United States for several decades. Back in the late 80’s, early 90’s, there was no concept of a rush hour traffic jam. One could drive from one end of the city to the other in 15 minutes at any time of day. Today, you have to avoid the several rush hours if there is any hope to cross the city in an hour on the “215”. When I first purchased my home, I was way outside of the city and my street was a dirt road. Today, the city has grown around me. One of the city’s largest malls is within walking distance. I can certainly feel the UHI effect – no more evening cooler breezes like I used to remember. Too much heat radiating from the buildings and paved roads when the sun goes down.

  37. There is just one word that is now called for:
    Replication!

    Friend Jones has AGAIN lost all of his data.
    No worries!

    Just ask him to replicate his UHI findings under carefully controlled conditions.
    Publish all the code, data, meta data and so forth.
    Audit the procedure AS IT PROCEEDS.

    Let Jones himself demonstrate that there is (or is not) global warming occurring.

    Let’s stop all this arguing pro and con AGW.
    REPLICATION – that’s what is called for now.

    Simple really.
    Next problem?

  38. Harold W. above comments that the Jones 1990 paper finds the rate of warming in urban and rural areas didn’t differ, or words to that effect. The crux of the problem, as I understand it, is that the reputedly rural sites were changing throughout; the identities and locales weren’t clear; and the rural areas may have included areas of populations exceeding 500,000-1,000,000. It is known that the urban heat island effect begins with initial clearing of land (per Pilke, Sr. and others) and the change as a function of population density is non-linear. That is, going from a population density of 5 /km square to 5o / km sq has a larger impact than going from 1,000 / km sq to 10,000 per km sq. So, a precise definition of urban and rural, tracking of site location changes and localized changes in measurement, as well as the quality of the measurements and records are absolutely critical.

    Since the “team” is so loose with providing raw data, information on adjustment techniques and access to their own methodologies, it is extremely hard to trust the outputs. The conclusions they draw are written on quicksand until they make the process transparent.

  39. Berényi Péter says:
    November 7, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    It’s also worth mentioning local population density is only a proxy to UHI, as economic development and land use change going with it (the true factors behind UHI) can continue even after population explosion has stopped. If UHI trend correction is to be calculated relative to local population density trends, we should count on at least a several decades long hysteresis loop (as man made structures don’t go away immediately whenever population density drops).

    It needs to be noted that there have been some rather significant land use changes in the rural areas of conflicting natures.

    What was once a family farm underwent a radical transformation in the last twenty years. The farm was progressively established in an Illinois woodland and prarie border in the period of about 1811-1832. By 1870 the extent of woodland felled and fields of agricultural cropland were stabilized at a level that stayed very much the same for the next century to about the years 1970 to 1978. This farm was heavily bordered by oak, elm, maple, and assorted other indigenous species of trees along with heavy growths of shrubs, sub-shrubs, vines, and blackberries. A mature orchard of peach and pear trees a century old remained into the decade of the 1970s along with a farm pond and a 19th Century house and former schoolhouse used in its last years as a hay barn. A steel equipment barn, small farm pond, and other minor improvements existed.

    In the years soon after the farm was sold by the family to another farmer, every improvement on the farm was erased from the face of the Earth. By the time the bulldozer had finished, the buildings were demolished, the century old orchard was eliminated, the pond disappered, the fencerows and blackberries were wiped out, the trees in the fencerows and around the houshold were cut and uprooted out of existence. Even the culverts in the ditches leading into the farm road and paths were removed. All that remained of the diverse farmstead was a flat field of dirt plowed, cultivated into row crops, and blowing dust for miles around, where before the fence rows and trees blocked the views. Seeing this brought to mind the question of what the farmer/s were thinking by removing all the barriers to the soil blowing away the next time a mega-droguht like the one in the Great Depression of the 1930s occurred and blew away so much of the topsoils?

    Conversely, on another former family farm tens of miles away from the other farm, woodland had reclaimed the land on which so many row crops once grew in fields under the Sun. In the space of only ten years, small trees had become towering trees, saplings had become countless small trees, and new saplings made walking through the former backyard of the homestead a very difficult task and totally blocked the road to the place where the barn once stood. Old barbed wire fences were sometimes embedded in the heart of large trees. The former cornfield in which the family was photographed fifty years ago is now a shaded woodland. Although the farm is not located inside a National Forest or Park, other nearby farms have now been incorporated into the National Forest. In recent years, it has become more and more difficult to discern where the farm and its row crops of grain once existed.

    As the U.S. population became more urbanized in the 20th Century and crop yields improved, the smaller family farms have been abandoned and have returned to woodland. Farm roads, county roads, railroads, churches, and cemeteries have returned to being dense woodland. This massive change in rural land use has been one of the reasons why the amount of forest in the United States has made major increases since their lowpoint in the decade of the 1950s.

    Given the extent of which so much farmland has been reforested while other farmland has become more intensely cultivated, you have to wonder how the changes in balance have impacted rural temperature profiles over the last 150 years in the United States? First impressions would suggest the reforested former farmlands could have decreased the temperatures where the soil was previously heated directly by the Sun, while temperature increases might be expected where the hedgerows and small woodlands have been replaced with open plowed fields in other rural areas.

  40. REPLICATION says AussieDan above.

    Why are most people here talking as if the Jones paper was the only one on UHI? A quick look at science citation index reveals dozens of papers covering many parts of the world – basically the replication has already been done.

    Berenyi Peter , suggests correlating UHI with population density – this does not sound right – the energy usage of a middle class area in California will be an order of magnitude greater than the much more densely populated slum in Calcutta. There is a paper on the NASA/GISS site (yes I know you don’t like them..) , link at the foot of this page http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2010july/
    which relates UHI to the brightness of city lights (brighter = more energy = more UHI). That seems a relatively sensible approach. (and they conclude UHI can be systematically corrected for…)

  41. I’m stunned at the wanton linearisation of natural effects that clearly aren’t linear. UHI effect is NOT 0.1°C/decade if it’s been estimated at 1°C/century. There may be a decade when the UHI effect grows by 0.8°C, other decades when nothing much happens at all and other decades when the UHI effect actually declines; by e.g. “greening” of cities or urban decay..

    It is a baseless assumption to assume a linear trend of UHI effect. There are blindingly obvious data to refute linear growth. Well, for those who are able to think outside of their taxpayer-funded ivory tower.

    It is more than an over-simplification to use a linear trend. It’s daft.

  42. If Jones’ fingerprints are on it, it’s fraudulent. That’s the null hypothesis, requiring 5-sigma evidence to falsify.

  43. Hi Jimmi
    The city light idea has been tested and found to be a poor proxy for UHI.
    Roy Spencer’s careful matched pairs is probably the best study using satelite data.

    But Jones is still trying to defend his 1990 paper which IPCC relys on.
    The problem is that Jones has “lost” his data once again.

    So replication would be a very simple method of closing this argument down, once and for all.

  44. Phil Jones looks as green as he does on camera because his conscience has been fermenting these toxins in his guts for two decades.
    ==========

  45. This paper set back the recognition of the Urban Heat Island by 20 years. Even today, it is only just starting to be included in climate analysis.

    20 years, is a long, long time for something that everyone knew was wrong on its face. Think about it, for 20 years, the IPCC and climate science looked the other way for this problem just so that they would not have to adjust the warming rate down to account for its affect. And these used this fake paper as cover in order to do so.

    The NCDC is still writing papers saying it doesn’t exist in a material way (and they were as much involved in this from the beginning as Phil Jones was).

    Bernd Felsche noted above at November 7, 2010 at 9:11 pm that UHI cannot be linear, or that its impact cannot be linear over time.

    Well, UHI seems to be logarithmic with respect to population (which is not surprising since temperature and energy levels are logarithmic as is much of the climate in fact). The impact is steep for population increases starting at a low base (say 20,000 to 40,000) but becomes less as we move to higher bases (5 million to 6 million for example). It probably maxes out at +3.0C or thereabouts in the winter and at night.

  46. I am glad that I was never a climate “scientist”. To have become one it seems that I would have had to believe that site temperatures averaged out for twentyfour hours, and then averaged again for a single global figure, could ever tell me anything except that simple arithmetic is fairly easy. The average temperature for “Blogsville” yesterday was 17deg C. So what fact is there in that? If I am going there tomorrow what clothes shall I need? To answer that I shall need to know maximum and minimum, or at least whether Blogsville is in the high desert or on the coastal plain. I should have to believe that any average not based on a simultaneous recording of numbers at a wide and voluminous range of reliable stations could have some usable meaning. On that I would have to have passed.

    I should also have had to believe that one can come to meaningful conclusions based on poor data. One cannot. One might work assiduously (as has been done above) to attempt to remove some errors, but what is left is an invitation to guess at an answer. Now it is possible to make good guesses at many things that we do not know but no matter how carefully and impartially a guess is made, the guess remains just that – a guess. If one of my younger grandchildren were to ask me whether I thought that climatology would be a good choice of career for him or her, I should advise them that in my view the “science” will not become spiritually rewarding until we have another fifty years’ of impeccable data. I might also point out that in any chosen field, financial reward depends all too much on not bucking the ruling propaganda.

  47. I find it quite astounding that climate science has given UHI a wide berth, on the whole, or tended to dismiss it as fairly small.
    Here in the UK, London is well known for being at least 2 or 3 degrees (c) higher than surrounding countryside. This is even readily observable via the multiple countrywide weather forecasts every day – because the London region is always shown with its own observed or predicted daily temperature!
    I would be curious to know if any real adjustment (i.e. downwards) of the London met office data has been done, and more importantly what has that reduction been in actual degrees? and does it affect nearby semi rural data homogenisation? The whole issue of UHI is very important if, and it’s a big if – if the adjustments and the reasons for those adjustments are not completely justified and documented. Where is the data, Phil?

  48. I would also add that in respect of Phil Jones – anyone who saw his testimony to the UK parliamentary committee (it’s on youtube for those who havent) could not possibly fail to note the guys lack of composure and clear discomfort. Now, why would that be? – yeah, maybe he is a shy kind of guy – but for someone who wants to save the world from itself, and considers AGW as a major problem, you would expect a little more confidence?

  49. Regardless of the existence/magnitude of UHI, where would I find rough estimates of what % of global land surface area has changed use SOMEHOW (from undeveloped to rural or farmed or urban) since 1900?. I suspect it is a fairly significant percentage that has changed.

  50. jimmi says:
    November 7, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Berenyi Peter , suggests correlating UHI with population density this does not sound right the energy usage of a middle class area in California will be an order of magnitude greater than the much more densely populated slum in Calcutta. There is a paper on the NASA/GISS site (yes I know you dont like them..) , link at the foot of this page http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2010july/
    which relates UHI to the brightness of city lights (brighter = more energy = more UHI). That seems a relatively sensible approach. (and they conclude UHI can be systematically corrected for)

    I would never suggest such a thing. I said UHI trend at each location should be correlated to log population density trend. It is not the same.

    As for night lights, it is just another proxy. Most of UHI is caused by changes in local surface albedo, heat capacity, wind patterns and evapotranspiration while very little is related to direct heat release from local energy usage (heating and/or air conditioning).

    Hansen 2010 may be an interesting approach, but it is flawed in its assumption about treating pitch black spots as a baseline all UHI effects are supposed to be measured against.

    You must be aware of Steve Mosher’s analysis of GHCN metadata (station locations). He has found 230 stations located on water. If this kind of sloppiness is indicative of general quality of GHCN metadata, there should be far more displaced stations, most of them misplaced to just another land pixel (with a very different nighttime radiance).

    As UHI is a fairly local effect, accuracy of metadata is all important. What is more, even if a pixel containing a specific station is dark indeed at night, it does not necessarily mean its vicinity is unaffected by local land use changes.

    Even with accurate station locations, the correct approach, again, is to compare local temperature trends to local nightlight trends. However, reliable satellite nightlight measurements has a short history compared to population density data based on census figures.

  51. Leave it to Steve McIntyre to straigthen out the messes left behind by the likes of Jones, Mann, and others who graze at the trough of public grant money to keep the myth of agw on life support.

  52. Friends:

    I am surprised that so few of the posts in this thread address the real and shocking issues.

    Firstly, there is the important issue of scientific fraud.

    Keenan observed that data provided by Wang and published in Jones et al. Nature (1990) was – and could only be – fabricated. Keenan repeatedly attempted to obtain an explanation of this from Wang, and when those attempts failed he also tried to obtain an explanation from Jones who claimed he did not have the apparently fabricated data.

    Secondly, there is the lack of concern by a scientific journal that a paper it published may have been based on fabricated data. This complaint was presented to Nature by Keenan but was rejected by Nasture on the basis that Jones et al. Nature (1990) had been published 17 years earlier. However, there is no known ‘statute of limitation’ on scientific fraud.

    Thirdly, there is the important issue of attempted usurption of the publication process by means of intimidation.

    Having failed to obtain an explanation for the apparent fabrication of data, Keenan wrote two versions of a paper that explained the apparent fabrication and the evidence which clearly indicated the fabrication. He submitted one version as a complaint to Wang’s university and submitted the other to the journal Energy & Environment (E&E) with a view to its publication.

    The Editor of E&E, Dr Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, asked Wang and Jones for comment on the submitted paper prior to deciding if she would send the paper for peer review. The self-titled Team responded by writing to the Editor’s university in an attempt to get that university to disown her. Dr Boehmer-Christiansen responded to that attempt by again demonstrating the courage for which she is rightly famous. She defended herself to her employing university, and she published Keenan’s paper which clearly and explicitly accuses Wang of fraud, then waited to see if the Team would sue (they did not).

    Fourthly, there is the important issue of cover-up.

    Keenan’s complaint to Wang’s university resulted in his university conducting an investigation. But that investigation was conducted in a manner that failed to comply with the university’s own rules, failed to adequately involve the complainant, then concluded that Wang was innocent. Later the Muir-Russell Inquiry failed to address the matter.

    Richard

  53. Here’s a good rundown of the Wang misconduct:

    http://freebornjohn.blogspot.com/2009/03/kafka-at-albany.html

    And another here:

    http://www.countingcats.com/?p=5023

    [Note that another scientist convicted of fraud similar to Wang’s has been sentenced to prison.]

    Doug Kennan’s home page, with his peer reviewed paper on the Wang fraud:

    http://www.informath.org

    And for those interested, do a search for “wang” here. There are some interesting email interactions between Wang and others [at one point Wang wanted to sue Keenan. Obviously, others possessing common sense prevailed upon him to forget that disastrous tactic].

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